Friday, March 15, 2013
Raiders find replacement for McClain
By Bill Williamson
The Oakland Raiders continued their theme of adding young starters on defense in an attempt to rebuild the team.
Oakland has signed Chicago linebacker Nick Roach. He is 27 and versatile. He was a strongside starting linebacker but played in the middle for Chicago when Brian Urlacher was hurt. He is considered to be an average player, but he will help Oakland as the starting middle linebacker.
The reportedly cap-strapped Raiders gave Roach a multiyear deal worth $3 million to $4 million a year.
Oakland just signed Cleveland’s Kaluka Maiava. He started several games at weakside linebacker for the Browns.
I expect the Raiders’ starting linebackers will be Roach, Maiava and second-year player Miles Burris. This group is not great but has a chance to grow together (Roach is the oldest of the group), and that is what Oakland needs -- youth and stability.
Philip Wheeler left for a big deal in Miami, and former first-round pick Rolando McClain is expected to be cut. Oakland also signed defensive tackle Pat Sims (Bengals) and defensive end Jason Hunter (Broncos). All of these players are decent, inexpensive pickups.
Meanwhile, another Raider has left the team and created another hole. Running back Mike Goodson has signed with the Jets. There is a hole behind starter Darren McFadden, especially considering the team is planning to move Taiwan Jones to cornerback.
Goodson, acquired in a trade with Carolina for guard Bruce Campbell last year, had 221 yards on 35 carries. Oakland will need to find a backup either in a weak free-agency class or with one of its five draft picks. While Oakland is making some signings, it still has plenty of needs.
It could lose another player. Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy is visiting Arizona. He has visits on tap to Tennessee and Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Shaughnessy could help the Raiders, but he fell out of favor late in the season.
In other AFC West notes:
• The Chiefs are talking to Minnesota guard Geoff Schwartz.
• New England is visiting with Colts pass-rusher Dwight Freeney. He is an option for Denver if it releases Elvis Dumervil. That decision is expected later Friday.
• The Jets are looking at San Diego pass-rusher Antwan Barnes.